Many people suffer from lower back pain. Back pain is so common as the majority of activities we perform throughout our day involve activation of the lower back muscles. Back pain can be caused by poor posture, lack of core strength, improper lifting technique, and muscle weakness. Most of the time, physical therapy can help to decrease your lower back pain and get you back to your daily activities. However, if your back pain is too severe and physical therapy does not seem to help, the next step is to consult with an orthopedic surgeon who will most likely refer you for imaging to determine if there is an underlying condition at your spine causing the majority of your back pain. A physical therapist will help you to be able to navigate your treatment path to achieve the most optimal result.
Physical Therapy is a great option for patients with arthritis. Physical Therapists will evaluate your joints that are affected by arthritis to determine your baseline level of motion and strength. Physical Therapy will help to ease your symptoms associated with arthritis by improving your strength and stability through prescribed exercises. With increased muscle strength supporting your joints, it will decrease joint stress and improve overall function. Physical therapist might also recommend certain modalities along with exercises to help decrease your discomfort. Examples of these modalities are heat, massage, and electrical stimulation. The most common joints that are affected by arthritis are the hands, knees, hip, and spine. The good news is all these joints can benefit from physical therapy.
Getting back into running? Trying to figure out where to start? The best way to start your run is with a dynamic warm-up. This allows for increased blood flow to the muscles, aids in raising your core temperature and metabolism, and also provides increased stretch to the muscles you will soon be activating during your run. A dynamic warm-up can reduce your risk for injury and simply prepares the body for activity.
Dynamic Running Warm-up Sample:
- Forward leg swings
- Lateral leg swings
- Walking straight leg kicks
- Walking toe scoops
- High knees / walking knee hugs to chest
- Butt kicks
- Side Shuffle
Did you know that chiropractors can advertise they perform physical therapy in the state of Maryland? It can be very misleading so we will explain more below.
A Chiropractor can obtain what is called physical therapy privilege. They are allowed to advertise they perform physical therapy but not that they are a physical therapist. Therefore, you might see a place that is called Amazing Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care. Don’t be fooled, you always want to ask what type of practitioners are on staff as it might just be Chiropractors. For a Chiropractor to get “physical therapy privilege”, they must get a minimum of 270 hours of physical therapy education from a chiropractic school.
A Physical Therapist goes to physical therapy school for 3 years and receives a doctorate degree in physical therapy. Then, they go on to pass a board examine in physical therapy to be licensed in the state. If you are looking for physical therapy services, make sure you do some research to determine what type of professionals you will be working with.
Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS) is defined as a phenomenon that occurs as a result of muscle imbalance between your neck and shoulder muscles. UCS is the result of weak deep neck flexor muscles and mid back muscles as well as tight upper trap muscles and tight chest muscles. UCS often results in a rounded shoulder and forward head posture. UCS is fixed by strengthening the weak musculature and lengthening or stretching the tight musculature. Specifically, stretching out the pectorals, upper traps, and levator scapula muscles while also strengthening the deep neck flexors, lower traps, and serratus anterior muscles. Tools such as foam rollers and manual stretching may aid in lengthening the necessary musculature, while exercises such as chin tucks, serratus punches, and prone Ys may assist in strengthening the necessary muscles.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles located in your shoulder that help keep the humerus (upper arm bone) tight within the shoulder socket. The rotator cuff not only provides stability, but also aids in shoulder mobility. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles each of which move the shoulder in different directions.
|Abducts the shoulder
|Lifts your arm out to the side to get your food from the drive-through
|Externally rotates the shoulder
|Helps wash/scratch the top of your back
|Externally rotates the shoulder
|Aids in brushing your hair
|Internally rotates and adducts the shoulder
|Helps you put your jacket on or aids in reaching up to grab your seat belt
Wound drainage is not always a bad thing. Depending on the color and consistency of the exudate, the wound may be demonstrating routine healing or may be indicative or infection.
There are four main types of drainage:
|Somewhat thick, syrup-like
|Occurs during blood vessel development
|Clear or slightly yellow
|Thin, but slightly thicker than water
|Contains sugars, white blood cells, and proteins for tissue healing
|Cloudy, yellow, tan
|Varies from thin to somewhat thick
|Beginning sign of infection / bacteria colonization
|Cloudy, milky, yellow, tan, grey, green, brown
|Thick and milky
|Pus, foul smell, and painful – indicative of possible infection
Note: Not all wounds follow these guidelines specifically. Any change in drainage color, odor, or sensitivity should be reported and discussed with your physician to determine possible signs of infection.
Ankle sprains occur when the ankle rolls, twists, or turns in an abnormal direction. They are often the result of decreased ankle strength and poor ankle stability. Ankle sprains often cause pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. They are typically classified into 3 major categories, which are broken down below.
|Days Injured (estimated)
|1 – 4 days
|R.I.C.E. (Rest, Elevation, Ice, Compression)
|Subacute Phase (Controlled Motion Phase)
|5- 21 days
|Gentle range of motion, light stretching, and very light strengthening
(Return to Function Phase)
|Increased focus on strengthening, end range of motion, and progressing through return to activities/sports
Note: The severity of the ankle sprain and specific ligaments that are affected may alter the treatment process. Consult with your physician or physical therapist to develop the perfect plan to advance safely and effectively through your rehabilitation.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw bone to your skull and is located directly in front of your ear. Pain in this region can be the result of postural deficits, stress, bad habits, and acute injury to the jaw. Symptoms are often recognized as pain with chewing, jaw stiffness/locking, and painful popping or clicking when opening/closing the jaw. In most cases, TMD resolves quickly and independently, but in other cases additional guidance is required to reduce pain and improve jaw function.
Helpful Hints to Relieve Jaw Pain:
- Correct posture especially in unsupported seated positions.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Place your jaw in its resting position (Say “Emma” – this word in particular puts the jaw in a completely rested position.)
- Use a warm compress on the joint to relax jaw muscles.
- Limit bad habits – reduce clenching of the teeth, avoid biting your nails, and limit gum chewing.
- Avoid overuse of the jaw – reduce intake of chewy foods, limit yelling and yawning.
If you continue to have pain, physical therapy helps to relieve discomfort by improving jaw alignment through manual work, modalities, and exercise.